Alzheimer's Society's view on driving
Find out what we think about driving and how it relates to the needs of people affected by dementia.
Update 31 July 2020
Please note, the following content may not reflect the current situation and will be taken under review in the coming months.
A dementia diagnosis is not a reason to stop people driving. However, all people with dementia will eventually need to stop driving.
For many people, giving up driving represents a loss of independence. The decision to stop driving should be made sensitively depending on individual circumstances and, where possible, with the consent of the individual with dementia. Alzheimer’s Society also believes that a diagnosis of dementia is very important as this can help people with the condition and their carers to understand how dementia progresses and make decisions about their life, including driving. For more information, please see our page: Driving and dementia.
What Alzheimer’s Society calls for
- Assessments on an individual basis. A dementia diagnosis is not a sufficient reason to stop people driving. People with dementia should follow legal guidelines, including informing the DVLA and their insurer, and undergo regular reviews to ensure that they can drive safely. However, all people with dementia will eventually need to stop driving. The decision to stop driving should be made sensitively depending on individual circumstances and, where possible, with the consent of the individual with dementia.
- Extension of the Blue Badge scheme. Once a person with dementia is no longer able to drive, it is important that they are able to maintain their independence. 88 per cent of people with dementia are reliant on carers, friends and families for transport (Alzheimer’s Society, 2013). However, carers of people with dementia often report difficulties with taking a person with dementia out. Currently, eligibility for a Blue Badge in England is based on the distance a person can walk. Alzheimer’s Society calls for people with cognitive impairments, which can leave a person with dementia completely dependent on someone else, to be eligible for the Blue Badge scheme. This is already the case in Wales.
- Accessible public transport. Once a person with dementia is no longer able to drive, it is important that they are able to maintain their independence. Dementia symptoms, including, confusion, anxiety and wandering, can make journeys by public transport challenging. Alzheimer’s Society calls for public transport companies to commit to becoming dementia-friendly and train staff to increase the awareness and understanding of dementia.
References and further information
Alzheimer’s Society (2008) Response to Department for Transport consultation on the eligibility of Blue Badges
Transport Select Committee (2013) Access to transport for disabled people: written evidence from the Alzheimer’s Society
Alzheimer’s Society (2013) Dementia 2013: The hidden voice of loneliness
Last updated: January 2015 by Laura Cook
Download out factsheet 'Driving and dementia'